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Friday, March 7, 2014

Being "Willfully Annoying" Remains Legal in San Francisco. Sigh.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 7, 2014 at 2:30 PM

click to enlarge The law is not always pretty
  • The law is not always pretty

San Francisco is, in its way, the sieve atop life's drain. Every manner of desperate person seems to come through here while their life swirls downward; the city is, all too often, a way station for oblivion. 

And so, the news broke this week that Bad Elmo is, once again, roaming our streets and annoying our denizens. Dan "Adam" Sandler is a puzzling man who dons a red, fuzzy outfit and fulminates against the Jews. His resume includes running a porn site in Cambodia titled "Welcome to the Rape Camp" that led to his deportation from that nation. Later he was found guilty of attempting to extort $2 million from the Girl Scouts. 

And yet, here he is, back in our fair city and fund-raising, so to speak. 

Perhaps they come here -- and not burgs like Grand Rapids, Mich. -- because we're so much more welcoming. After all, that Midwestern town only this month rescinded a 38-year-old law stating "no person shall willfully annoy another person."

A law on the books like that would have reduced San Francisco to a penal colony. 

It's hard to know where to start when tabulating who'd be headed for the lockup. Here's a brief and very incomplete list: 

Protesters banging pots and pans outside your building; any and all bushmen; 85 percent of the people speaking during Board of Supervisors public comment; 85 percent of the Board of Supervisors; alarming numbers of 14-Mission riders; karaoke aficionados; public relations professionals; inveterate tweeters; inveterate tweakers, nudists, and vast swaths of the Marina. 

The city official responsible for incarcerating this segment of humanity would be Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi -- who, most certainly, never annoyed anyone. 

San Francisco is a city with some odd laws on its books. But, without doubt, it's for the best that no one can incur the wrath of the justice system just for being annoying. 

Bad Elmo, it seems, is the price of tolerance. 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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